Updated: Jan 25
All cards on the table, we love agency partnerships. Big fans over here. So much so we've made it a huge part of our business model.
What exactly is an agency partnership?
An agency partnership is when two or more agencies collaborate together for the common good of our clients.
Sometimes agency partnerships are required – for instance, you support a brand running their paid media, but they have another agency doing organic social, and in order to ensure success, both agencies have to overlap communications, processes, and executions.
In this article, I want to explore why it's important to build intentional agency partnerships – where you can go to a client and say, "here's what we do well and here's where we end... but outside of those edges, we have a partner for that if you need it."
There are several reasons why agencies want to create collaborative partnerships:
1. Any agency who's been around the block knows that, at times, the success of their work is contingent on another agency's work.
For example – let's pretend you own a dev agency. A client has scoped you for UX/UI/hosting – that sort of stuff. And they're looking to you to make sure the website you just built for them is performing. With that kind of scope, your impact on "performance" is limited. In fact, it's their marketing agency that impacts a lot of performance metrics, too.
The marketing agency provides messaging and content on the website
The marketing agency drives traffic to the website (Paid, Organic, SEO, etc.)
And the marketing agency will likely begin making recommendations for the website that you vehemently disagree with.
But, when you get to form and recommend the partnership, you can do that with confidence. You believe in each other's work. You respect each other's processes. And your synergy – or flow – can oftentimes create the best results.
2. Your worst nightmare – another agency tries to (at best) scope creep or (at worst) attempt a full on coup, causing you to lose the client for good.
So, this is an obvious benefit. Having defined your partnership with clear expectations and boundaries contractually through a Letter of Engagement should prevent this from happening. Think of how much better your client experience and work will be when you're starting from a place of trust.
3. Agency partnerships open up new business opportunities – aka more $$$.
There are a few ways this can happen. The first is their work can open up incremental scopes of work for you.
Using the same dev shop/marketing agency example – when the marketing partner needs, say, new campaign landing pages, the dev shop (who's scoped to build those pages) wins more work. Minimal, but it adds up. $
But together, you can use data and insights to make a case on a bigger scope of work, such as an entire website refresh. Now, you both win. $$
Outside of incremental work, there's also the opportunity to share new leads.
When leads come as referrals, they're highly qualified. In many cases, your partner agency has done the heavy lifting of selling you for you. And vice versa. $$$
Things to look for in a strong agency partnership:
Is there clear differentiation? Can you draw a clear line between what they do and what you do? This will be important in positioning each other to your clients and in defining your agreement.
Is there chemistry? Just because you provide complimentary services, that doesn't mean you actually *like* working together. Consider the vibe, synergistic processes, etc.
Is there a foundation of trust? Not sure yet? Try out a project together. Or five. Did they deliver what they said they would? Was it up to your caliber? Would you be proud to put their work in front of your clients?
Is there mutual value exchange? Will both of you benefit from this engagement? It's important that both agencies believe they'll be better together for any chance at a partnership that's longterm.
Here's a quick story about one of our partnerships...
In 2022, a B2B marketing firm approached us about a partnership. While their ads were performing well, they noticed a big drop off when these leads hit the site. (The site hadn't received a ton of TLC and felt rather dated.)
Their recommendation? It was time for a brand and messaging refresh. And while they probably could've sold that scope of work and faked their way through it, they wanted a strong branding agency to step in, because they knew they'd benefit greater in the longterm.
So, they brought Jumpsuit the opportunity, and the first thing we did was offer them commission for the lead. ($)
We crushed it. So much so, the client asked us if we would redo their entire website ($$). However, as much as we would've loved to, our Letter of Engagement with our partner stated that they would get dibs, since this is one of their capabilities and the client was their lead.
So, we redirected the client back to our partner with the confidence that our branding and messaging updates would be more than enough to set everyone up for success.
Even though we said no to money on the table, what we said yes to was a lot more than that – a future pipeline of new opportunities built on a foundation of trust.
Happy agencies, happy client.
Here's a teaser of the work, by the way:
We're always open to exploring partnerships!
We believe that there's more than enough work to go around. What's harder to find are collaborative agencies that share the same values as we do.
So, if you know a guy (or are one), we're looking for smaller agencies who are interested in –
Sharing referrals / leads outside of their scope of work ($ via commission)
Creating new project opportunities for each other ($ via incremental scopes of work)
Going after bigger opportunities that you wouldn't otherwise be able to take on yourself ($ via new scopes of work)
If this is something you'd like to explore with Jumpsuit, please do. And, if not with us, then someone else.